About the content
A wondrously romantic belief is that brilliant thinkers magically produce brilliant ideas: Einstein jostles his hair and relativity falls out. We can enjoy these fanciful visions of leaps of genius, but we should not be fooled into believing that they’re reality.
Brilliant innovators are brilliant because they practice habits of thinking that inevitably carry them step by step to works of genius. No magic and no leaps are involved.
Professor Starbird will discuss how practices of effective thinking and creativity can be taught and learned through puzzles and mathematics. Anyone who practices these habits of mind will inevitably create new insights, new ideas, and new solutions.
- Engage in thinking about mathematical ideas
- Apply effective strategies of thinking to approach questions in your lives with insight and innovation
- Think more effectively and imaginatively throughout your lives
The whole course presents strategies of effective thinking that can make you more creative and more insightful. These overarching lessons are conveyed through fascinating mathematical themes. Weeks 1 and 2 – An Introduction and Puzzles
These two weeks provide an introduction to the course and introduce five practical elements of effective thinking. By working on fun puzzles, you will use these practices of mind to create insights and solve conundrums. The basic theme is that more effective problem-solving arises from employing learnable ways of thinking. Weeks 3-4 – Infinity Here you will take a dramatic journey that begins with the most basic concept of number and lets you personally move logically to an understanding of infinity... and beyond! Throughout you will see how amazing insights about the infinite flow from strategies of effective thinking. Week 5 – The Koenigsberg Bridge Puzzle and Conclusion Specific challenges can lead to general insights. A puzzle from the 1730's leads from walking over bridges to wonderful mathematical insights. Most importantly, all these explorations illustrate methods of thinking that are applicable to your own life.
University Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics
The University of Texas at Austin
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